Whittlesea councillor Mary Lalios will seek legal advice after her colleagues publicly released a report containing her confidential medical information.
The medical information, including advice from her psychologist and the name of her GP, were released as part of a probity auditor’s report.
The report says that Cr Lalios made a complaint against council chief executive Simon Overland, “asserting that she had been bullied by him”.
The auditor’s report – by Frances O’Brien QC – was released alongside a report by independent investigator Naomi Lenga.
Ms Lenga dismissed the bullying claim.
The reports were released to councillors in a confidential memo from acting chief executive Liana Thompson about 4pm last Tuesday.
Councillors closed last Tuesday’s council meeting to the public for almost an hour to allow them to discuss the reports and the ramifications of making them public, before deciding to declassify the documents.
Cr Lalios sent a letter to Ms Thompson asking for the reports to be kept confidential to prevent further damage to her reputation.
Star Weekly understands the letter was read to councillors and advised them that Cr Lalios would seek legal advice if any of the documents were made public.
Star Weekly also understands that Cr Lalios maintained she had not made a complaint against Mr Overland under the Local Government Act.
Cr Lalios was absent from the meeting and has been on leave from the council since April.
She has submitted a WorkCover claim, which has been accepted.
Mr Overland is on leave.
Speaking at last Tuesday’s meeting, Cr Ricky Kirkham warned his colleagues that Cr Lalios could take legal action over the decision to release the reports.
“Cr Lalios has been the subject of a WorkCover claim and has been unable to participate in the investigation,” he said. “At the moment, all this council is doing is continuing to impact this person’s mental health and this person’s family life.
“This organisation as a body should hang its head in shame.”
Cr Lawrie Cox told last week’s meeting the report needed to be released because Cr Lalios has been absent for five months.
“It’s about representation. We are in a position where it has been going on for five months … It needs to be transparent,” he said.